College students now have a greater opportunity to save money by comparing prices online before purchasing their textbooks.
As part of the Higher Education Opportunity Act, all colleges are required to post a list of the books required for every class. This law took effect on July 1.
The book list for Mercyhurst College can be accessed by logging on to my.mercyhurst.edu and clicking on the Bookstore and Coffee Shop tab, which can be found under Campus Life. Once on the Bookstore and Coffee Shop tab, the book list is located on the left hand side of the page under Erie Book List.
The information on the list includes the title of the book, the author, edition, ISBN, new price and used price.
According to General Manager of the Mercyhurst College Bookstore Dan Cullen, the new law was created as a way to help students with cost.
“Book prices were getting out of control,” Cullen said. “What we try to do, the teachers try to do and Congress was trying to do is make things cheaper for the students.”
Junior Amanda Kocent said, “I usually buy my books from the bookstore.”
Now that she knows the book list is available, she said she plans to compare book prices online before deciding where to purchase her textbooks.
Despite students having more of an opportunity to purchase textbooks from retailers other than the Mercyhurst Bookstore, Cullen doesn’t seem too worried about future sales.
“Is it going to hurt sales?” Cullen asked. “I think it might temporarily,” he said.
He added that students don’t always purchase their books from the Mercyhurst Bookstore and that students have been “swapping books for years.”
Cullen then discussed ways in which he thinks will help get students to buy textbooks from Mercyhurst.
Cullen said he thinks adding a checkout button online will steer students to buy their books from Mercyhurst College if they can’t find them somewhere else. An online checkout button will allow students to add the books they want to purchase from the bookstore to an online shopping cart, and then they will be able to pick up the books they ordered at the bookstore.
“We are trying to keep the prices down as best we can,” Cullen said. “We’re all about helping out the students.”
One way Cullen plans on helping students is by not posting the book list too early.
Due to staff changes, changes in the courses offered and teachers changing their mind about which books to use, Cullen said, “I’m trying to help out the students by not posting it too early. It just changes so often.”
Even once the list is posted online, Cullen still advises students to wait as long as possible to purchase books.
Aside from waiting to purchase books, Cullen warns students to be cautious about where they purchase their books from.
According to Cullen, a downside to the new law is that purchasing books online could make it difficult to return and the student can never be sure what condition their books will be in when they purchase them.
Despite Cullen’s warnings about purchasing books online, students will most likely purchase their books from wherever they can get them the cheapest.
Junior Meghan Hess said, “I used the bookstore list. I thought it was awesome I was able to compare prices online to see what’s cheaper.”
After factoring in shipping costs to the prices of the books, Hess discovered her books were cheapest from the Mercyhurst College Bookstore.